Antarctic ice-mass balance 2002 to 2011: regional re-analysis of GRACE satellite gravimetry measurements with improved estimate of glacial-isostatic adjustment
1Department of Geodesy and Remote Sensing, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg A20, 14473, Potsdam, Germany
2Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91109-8099, USA
3Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
4School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, University Road, Bristol BS8 1SS, UK
5School of Cosmic Physics, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 5 Merrion Square, Dublin 4, Ireland
*now at: National Oceanography Centre, 6 Brownlow Street, Liverpool L3 5DA, UK
Abstract. We present regional-scale mass balances for 25 drainage basins of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (AIS) from satellite observations of the Gravity and Climate Experiment (GRACE) for the years 2002–2011. Satellite gravimetry estimates of the AIS mass balance are strongly influenced by mass movement in the Earth interior caused by ice advance and retreat during the last glacial cycle. Here, we develop an improved glacial-isostatic adjustment (GIA) estimate for Antarctica using newly available GPS uplift rates, allowing us to more accurately separate GIA-induced trends in the GRACE gravity fields from those caused by current imbalances of the AIS. Our revised GIA estimate is considerably lower than previous predictions, yielding an (upper) estimate of apparent mass change of 48 ± 18 Gt yr−1. Therefore, our AIS mass balance of −103 ± 23 Gt yr−1 is considerably less negative than previous GRACE estimates. The Northern Antarctic Peninsula and the Amundsen Sea Sector exhibit the largest mass loss (−25 ± 6 Gt yr−1 and −126 ± 11 Gt yr−1, respectively). In contrast, East Antarctica exhibits a slightly positive mass balance (19 ± 16 Gt yr−1), which is, however, mostly the consequence of compensating mass anomalies in Dronning Maud and Enderby Land (positive) and Wilkes and George V Land (negative) due to interannual accumulation variations. In total, 7% of the area constitute more than half of the AIS imbalance (53%), contributing −151 ± 9 Gt yr−1 to global mean sea-level change. Most of this imbalance is caused by long-term ice-dynamic speed up expected to prevail in the future.